Bulk emailing sucks! Yes, we said it, it does. Personalized bulk emailing (as much as it sounds like an oxymoron) rocks. So does effective email marketing! But to do it you need to find a system that can do all the heavy lifting for you, otherwise “personalized bulk emailing” is just a fancy way of saying “sending out an email to every client individually”. Therefore, investing time in finding the right email marketing service for you and your needs should be at the top of your to-do list.
In a previous post we recommended how to do personalized bulk emailing and what not to do when composing your bulk email message. Now we want to list how you can do and what options you have out there to automate it.
It’s 2013 and the software industry understands that no one wants to write a hundred emails or more! There are a number of email marketing systems and email marketing software out there that can help you out but the secret is really just to find a system that is right for you!
An important feature for any bulk email software is that it will allow you to integrate your data and can automate your communication. That might sound like a lot of work and you might be seeing big expensive dollar sign when even considering to use a bulk email software, but there are really a lot of options out there and you just need to find the one that fits!
There are three levels of systems available for you to choose from. The common link between all of them is having an online registration software that stores your client information that the email marketing system can then draw from.
Good Bulk Emailing Software
A good system is one that lets you create a template email and then easily filter and sort which of your clients will receive it. These systems allow you to find the relevant people for the specific message and send it out only to them. Constant Contact and Sendblaster are great examples of “a good system”.
These systems however don’t offer full customization. You might find yourself writing several different template emails and still not be tailoring each message exactly to each client’s needs. For example, if your upcoming session or class have outstanding payments, don’t waste everyone’s time with an email to make sure they are paid in full, even if it’s addressed to them personally, with a reminder to pay. This is confusing to clients that have already paid and tips them off that they are just getting a mass email intended for a smaller audience.
If you can filter out only those who are attending a specific session AND haven’t paid, you are reaching your target audience effectively without wasting the time of a larger group. Add their balance and order in the email, and it’s even better! If you want these kinds of capabilities then “a good system” is not what you’re looking for since it isn’t capable of filtering the data you need and customizing the message with personal details (balance, etc).
While these “good” systems won’t break the bank, they aren’t giving you what you need to communicate effectively and efficiently to your clients. You get what you pay for, which isn’t much.
Better Bulk Email Marketing Services
A “better” system is one that allows you to populate information from your database directly into an email template that you create. Which means you can have tons of email templates that will make each message that much more personal and specific to the person who receives it. This type of system allows you to make the message incredibly personalized, for example:
Thank you for registering Joe to our program.
Please note that you have a few outstanding items in order for Joe’s registration to be complete.
This is a list of the forms you have yet to complete:
Close Your Balance of $150.00
According to our records, you have already completed the following forms:
Basic child Information
Select Your Services
Medication Release Form
Terms and Conditions
Review your order
You can access the system by clicking here. You have until May 15th to complete the outstanding forms and to complete your balance.
Just as a reminder, the email address you used to login with is: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not remember your password, please feel free to use the “forgot password” option present in the login page.
Please feel free to contact us by replying to this email if you have any questions!
This ability coupled with filtering and sorting abilities within your online registration software allows you to make sure only the correct clients are getting the information you need to get out and the email is tailored to their specific situation, with a unique action for them to perform within the message.
Some “better” systems that come to mind are iContact and Salesforce. While these systems are better than the first we listed, they come with either a pretty hefty price tag or a lot of configuration and syncing that you need to do (which is basically a high price tag plus lots of time wasted).
Great Bulk Emil Software
A “great” system allows you to filter and populate information like the level 2 system while also allowing you to view and edit the email before it goes out. This system is also capable of knowing which clients have received the email (say for a balance due) and will prevent you from sending out a duplicate email (cuts down on your emails being treated as spam!).
With this type of system, you can also add a personal note to each client while still using a pre-formated and populated email with all the correct information set up automatically. For example, if you are sending out an email to everyone that has an open balance and you talked to Joe just a few days ago, these systems will allow you to edit the email you are sending specifically to Joe and allows you to add something like “It was great talking to you yesterday Joe”.
An example of “great” system like this that comes to mind is, of course, Regpacks. Most high level enterprise systems like Regpack can also cost the big bucks, like Oracle and SAP. Unlike these systems however, Regpack is affordable, offering the capabilities of a fully decked out system for a price small and medium sized businesses can actually afford!
Conclusion: Choosing the Best Email Marketing Service
We hope this guide has helped differentiate the variety of systems out there to choose from. We hope whatever your needs are, this guide has helped narrow the search for an online registration software and/or a great email marketing service that’s right for you!